A new European research cooperation


EDGaR and DVGW want to start a new research program and will establish project-to-project cooperation

Catrinus Jepma (left), scientific director of EDGaR, and Jürgen Lenz (right), vice-president of the DVGW in charge of gas research, meet at DVGW’s headquarters, in Bonn on 4 June 2013 (Photo: EDGaR/Jean-François Auger) Catrinus Jepma (left), scientific director of EDGaR, and Jürgen Lenz (right), vice-president of the DVGW in charge of gas research, meet at DVGW’s headquarters, in Bonn on 4 June 2013 (Photo: EDGaR/Jean-François Auger)

The Dutch Energy Delta Gas Research (EDGaR) and the German Deutscher Verein des Gas- und Wasserfaches (DVGW) have agreed to cooperate on research about gas and sustainability. Both partners want to initiate a research program that will keep Europe at the vanguard of the greening of gas, which can contribute to a renewable power generation through the flexibility of modern gas infrastructure.

Europe’s goal of reducing greenhouse gases emissions cannot be achieved without international cooperation, while Germany’s Energiewende needs as well this form cooperation for its implementation. “It is inconceivable that you do research in isolation,” said Scientific Director of EDGaR Catrinus Jepma, who is also the director of the EDIaal programme of the Energy Delta Institute and professor of energy and sustainability at the University of Groningen. “You have to collaborate and, Germany being the largest country neighboring the Netherlands, is the obvious candidate.” 

DVGW finds the collaboration appealing, too, because the Netherlands has more than half-century of expertise in the extraction, transport and distribution of natural gas. “Both countries should look for a way for the gas to reach the next level, which is not only to be found in the heating market. Gas will develop to a significant source in the production of electricity as well as in the production of raw materials and in the mobility sector,” said Jürgen Lenz, vice-president of the DVGW in charge of gas research.

A European research program

A new research program can contribute in achieving European Union’s 20-20-20 target of increasing the share of renewable energy, reducing energy consumption and reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Gas, a flexible energy, is an enabler of renewable such as wind and solar, and it will renew itself via biomethane or hydrogen integration.

The research program, following an integrated approach, will encompass the whole gas chain, as well as its interactions with the electricity infrastructure. The European energy market becomes increasingly integrated, and the renewable future is only achievable in cross border collaboration. In this respect, DVGW and EDGaR come to the fore with the idea of a European research program on gas and sustainability. They welcome cooperation with other research partners.

The European Commission has to acknowledge, in the framework of the program Horizon 2020, that the themes that EDGaR and DVGW focus on – system integration and the role of gas as an enabler of renewable energy – are key themes for Europe. “Facilitating the introduction of renewables with subsidies is one thing, while dealing with the intermittency of those energy sources is another thing,” Mr Jepma said. “Gas is about to play a crucial role in this regard.”

Project-to-project cooperation

DVGW and EDGaR held discussions about “how they can collaborate in new research initiatives,” Mr Jepma said. Researchers of both organizations will cooperate on gas quality. They work on new measurement methods of different gas components to appear in the future gas grid. Besides, they try to determine the impact of the new gas quality on mains, pipes and joints of the infrastructure.

Moreover, they will cooperate on smart grid, information and communication technologies that enable a decentralized gas grid for multiple production site of biogas, as well as multiple injection points. Finally, researchers are working on the integration of gas and electricity systems. Gas remains one prominent source for the production of electricity, a fuel that has several economic and ecological advantages as compared to coal and oil.

DVGW’s Innovation Offensive includes 20 projects on the role of gas in the energy system, gas production and processing, network management and application technologies. EDGaR’s program has 250 researchers distributed in 30 research projects totalizing €42 million euros of investments. Projects are on the transition from monogas to multigas, the role of gas in the total energy system and the changing gas markets in Europe.

By Jean-François Auger and Daniel Wosnitzka